Progression of a Pulled Hamstring
This can be classified into 3 grades of hamstring strain severity:
Grade 1 (Minor) Hamstring Strains involve slightly pulled or excessively stretched muscles, or very small tears in your muscles. You will generally feel some specific point pain, tightness or mild cramping in your hamstring which will be a little uncomfortable, but will involve no swelling or no major loss of strength. These may diminish with activity, but will may return easily with further activity.
Grade 2 (Moderate) Hamstring Strains are more painful and involve a partial tearing of the hamstring fibers in your muscles, tendons, or at the tendon attachment to your bone. You will generally experience some pain that radiates down your leg during activity, while bending your knee against resistance, or when you touch your hamstring. Swelling, stiffness, decreased strength and range of motion (may not be able to straighten knee) will be apparent and can also cause you to limp. You may also experience some bruising (ecchymosis) due to bleeding within the injured muscle.
Grade 3 (Severe) Hamstring Strains involve a complete tear (rupture) of your hamstring muscle fibers where your muscle belly attaches to your tendon or where your muscle belly rips in 2 separate pieces. It is very painful and rarer than the other strains. You will tend to experience a burning or stabbing pain, a lot of swelling and minimal strength, which may prevent you from walking without assistance or make it difficult for you to move your leg. Discoloration and widespread bruising in the injured area as a result of bleeding in the muscle tissue can also happen. You may also notice a break in your normal muscle outline that makes a gap under your skin where the muscle has come apart. This can be seen or felt with your hands and looks like a knotting of the muscle that produces a bulge.
The majority of hamstring strains are grade 1 or 2 strains that involve partial muscle or tendon tears that occur near the musculotendinous junction, where your hamstring tendon and muscle meet.
Should you seek medical attention?
This is up to your discretion; however any continued discomfort in your hamstring should be investigated. If you continue to experience the hamstring injury symptoms and have tried the suggested conservative treatments for 2-3 weeks, it is recommended that you seek professional medical attention. It is recommended you seek immediate attention if you:
- hear a "loud pop" in your muscle when injured
- have immediate severe pain, swelling or discoloration in your hamstrings
- experience severe weakness in your leg (compared to other leg) and have difficulty walking
- have a temperature over 100.4º F (38º C)
- notice blue toe nails, numbness or coldness below your injury
Pulled Hamstring Treatments
Hamstring injuries are frustrating to live with and healing can take a long time because it's difficult to give your leg the rest it needs. This is especially true for runners and other athletes that return to their sport too early. Re-injury is common but it prolongs recovery and may also lead to permanent damage and other conditions.
Treating your hamstring strain correctly is essential to getting rid of your pain and restoring function to your upper thigh. Proper treatment will get you back to regular activities sooner, stop your pain, and reduce the risk of future re-injury.
To restore strength and range of motion in your hamstrings, treatment should focus on preventing scar tissue formation and muscle atrophy (shrinkage and weakening of the muscle). This requires rest and the appropriate therapies at the right time. Almost all types of hamstring pulls and tears (except a complete hamstring rupture) can be properly treated with trusted therapies that are available for use at home. Complete ruptures usually require surgery. However, using these home therapies after surgery can help speed recovery, improve function, and increase range of motion in your hamstrings.
Cold Compression Therapy – An Ounce of Prevention!
The initial treatment of a hamstring injury or re-injury is cold compression therapy. Treating an injury with cold compression therapy as soon as you can is important because it decreases swelling and inflammation. This limits the amount of tissue damage that occurs within the first 72 hours of an acute strain.
When a hamstring pull or tear occurs we think the damage is done at the time of the injury. In reality, the tissue damage continues to occur even after the injury has happened. Yes, at the time of the injury blood vessels are damaged. But after the injury, swelling and inflammation set in and block blood vessels causing further damage. When this happens you will notice a hamstring contusion (hamstring bruising).
Blood contains oxygen that is vital to the survival of your tissue cells. Blocked blood vessels can no longer carry blood to your cells and the cells begin to break-down further damaging your injured hamstring. By applying cold compression therapy to a fresh injury or re-injury you reduce tissue damage and reduce the amount of healing that will be required to get your hamstring muscles and tendons back to normal.
Aside from preventing tissue damage, cold compression therapy reduces pain by gently numbing nerves in the injured area and providing comforting support to your hamstring muscles. Initially, you may use pain killers or anti-inflammatory medications but these can affect your organs and should never be used for a long period of time. Cold compression therapy is the natural way to reduce upper leg pain quickly.
The Leg/Arm Freezie Wrap® cold compression therapy is an effective and innovative way to treat your painful hamstring symptoms. The therapy behind the Freezie Wrap® has been doctor recommended for centuries but the Freezie Wrap® itself is a new, safer way to get it!
The cooling gel packs inside the Freezie Wrap® have been designed with ColdCure Technology®. This allows the pack to be supercharged in the fridge, not in the freezer like ice or other freezer packs. This gives you deep cold compression therapy without the risk of 'cold burns' or cryoburn to the layers of your skin. This unique technology, inside a soft and completely adjustable neoprene wrap, gives you comfortable, convenient, and effective cold compression therapy.
Have a Leg/Arm Freezie Wrap® on hand to treat your hamstring after activity and following any re-injury to calm inflammation, treat pain quickly, and stop further tissue damage. The wrap is so versatile you can use it on your arm, foot, calf, and almost everywhere on your body. Have one in your fridge ready when you need it!
Once the initial swelling and severe inflammation of your hamstring injury is under control (via use of the Freezie Wrap®, you can begin using BFST® to accelerate the healing process. Regular Inferno Wrap® treatments can further reduce inflammation, kick start the healing process, and treat scar tissue as it begins to form.
MendMeShop® Inferno Wrap® - Improved Range of Motion!
One of the most common complaints after a hamstring injury begins to heal is tightness and a limited range of motion. The tightness is caused by tough fibrous scar tissue build up on the muscles and/or tendons. Scar tissue is the body's way to heal tissue quickly. It forms at the site of the injury to repair tears, small or large. Although it repairs the tears, scar tissue is inflexible, prone to re-tearing, and can cause pain. Healthy tissue is stronger and more elastic. Healthy tissue allows your muscles and tendons to expand and contract easily, without pain and with less risk of tearing again. Treating scar tissue is the only way to restore muscle function properly and get your range of motion back!
The Inferno Wrap® is an effective and pain-free way to soften scar tissue and return your muscle tissue to a more flexible, stronger state. Physical therapy, manipulation, and deep tissue massage can help to treat scar tissue but these methods are expensive, time consuming, painful, and in some cases, may require further tearing to loosen the scar tissue.
A personal Inferno Wrap® allows you to treat your hamstring injury conveniently using Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ in your own home, on your schedule, and for less time and money than any other method. Inferno Wraps® also increase the flexibility of the muscle tissue, which speeds along the healing process and decreases your chance of re-injury. A 15 to 25 minute treatment, twice a day, will speed healing and further reduce your painful pulled hamstring symptoms while improving the range of motion in your upper leg. That's all it takes to get your hamstring muscle back to normal and you back to your activities!
In addition, hamstring pulls can lead to other overuse injuries if left untreated. The pain of a pulled hamstring can cause you to re-adjust your posture and change your gait to take weight off your sore hamstring muscles. This can cause excess strain in your back, hip, knees and ankles. The Inferno Wrap® can be used to treat all of your strains and tears, as well as other painful conditions like bursitis, tendinitis, and joint pain. It is a great tool to have on hand for so many soft tissue injuries!
Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ - Faster Healing
Once inflammation and swelling have been reduced in your hamstring muscles, nourishing and strengthening the tissue in your upper leg is the goal. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®) promotes blood flow to the treatment area bringing the necessary oxygen and nutrients to your muscle fibers. BFST® speeds up the body's natural repair process for faster healing and stronger tissue.
When you rest and stop moving your leg because it hurts, the natural blood flow is reduced. Without proper blood flow, musclar atrophy (shinkage or deterioration of a muscle) can occur as your body's ability to heal itself becomes limited. You need to improve blood flow while giving your hamstring the rest it needs. That's where the Inferno Wrap® comes in.
Not only does the Inferno Wrap® speed your recovery through BFST®, the gentle warming that is produced with the increase in blood flow relaxes your thigh muscles and and whisks away dead cells and toxins that have accumulated from your hamstring strain. This further loosens your muscles and makes your hamstring feel better.
Keeping your legs as healthy and strong as possible throughout the healing process will allow you to get back to your regular activities faster. The Leg/Arm Inferno Wrap®, available exclusively from MendMeShop®, provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief and healing with no side effects.
The benefits of BFST® do not end once your hamstring stops hurting! Even when your upper thigh muscles have healed, your activities can put them at risk of an overuse injury, tightness, or another strain. An Inferno Wrap® treatment before activity is an easy way to warm up the muscles and prepare them for use. Then, end your day with another treatment to prevent tightness from setting in overnight. This incredible healing tool will be the ticket to healthy hamstrings for years to come!
With these 3 easy therapies: , Freezie Wrap® cold compression therapy, Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ through use of the Inferno Wrap® device and rehabilitative stretching through use of the Knee-Flex® Passive Knee Stretch Device, you will notice significantly reduced pain and an incredible improvement in your hamstring pain.
- Calm Inflammation
- Reduce Swelling
- Soften Scar Tissue
- Increase Range of Motion
- Stop Pain
- Promote Blood Flow
- Speed Healing
- Prevent Atrophy
You will notice significantly reduced pain and an incredible improvement in your hamstring range of motion.
During your recovery, you may have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort in your hamstring until your pain and inflammation settle. The more dedicated you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!
Please be aware that this information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.